|Industry||Transport and Travel|
|Area served||Victoria, Australia and several interstate locations|
|Key people||Ross Pedley - Acting CEO
Hector McKenzie - Chairman
|Services||Regional Trains and Buses|
|Operating income||n/a, A$271.7m subsidy was given by the Victorian Government to break-even|
|V/Line Passenger Pty. Ltd.|
Victorian railway network
|Dates of operation||1983–present|
Public Transport Corporation
|Track gauge||5 ft 3 in (1,600 mm) 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) (Albury-Wodonga line)|
V/Line is a not for profit regional passenger train and coach service in Victoria, Australia. It was created after the split-up of VicRail in 1983. V/Line is owned by the V/Line Corporation which is a Victorian State Government statutory authority. V/Line operates to 85 railway stations and a larger number of coach stops, and operates 1,444 rail services and 592 coach services every week across regional Victoria. The V/Line system carried a record 15,554,638 passengers in the 2011-12 financial year, a 6.2% increase on the previous year, and is the fastest growing rail business in Australia. All train lines experienced patronage increases during the year: Geelong 130,000 additional trips, Bendigo 90,000, Ballarat 110,000, Gippsland 90,000 and Seymour 80,000. V/Line is also track manager of the Victorian intrastate rail network outside of the Australian Rail Track Corporation and Metro Trains Melbourne leases. It has a fleet of 134 carriages.
On 1 July 1983 the Transport Act 1983 commenced and the State Transport Authority (STA) was created along with a range of other transport bodies. The new authority replaced VicRail, and established the V/Line operating brand in both country passenger and Victorian rail freight. The VicRail orange and silver 'teacup' livery used on passenger rolling stock was replaced in August 1983 by the orange and grey livery, the white and green V/Line logo also being launched at the same time.
This was altered in 1989 when the Transport (Amendment) Act was passed. The Act commenced on 1 July 1989 and created the Public Transport Corporation (PTC) from the merger of the State Transport Authority with the Metropolitan Transit Authority. The relationship between the country V/Line and suburban 'The Met' brands was blurred, with the Sprinter trains delivered in the 1993-1995 period appearing in PTC colours but with both PTC and V/Line logos.
In 1995 the freight and passenger rail divisions of V/Line were divided, with a new red, blue and white 'V/Line Passenger' livery devised, which remains on some of the fleet today. This split was finalised on 1 July 1997 when separate management was brought in.
In 1999 V/Line Passenger and V/Line Freight were franchised and privatised separately. National Express acquired V/Line Passenger and Freight Victoria (later Freight Australia, now Pacific National) acquired V/Line Freight. The V/Line Freight contract included a 45 year lease from the government of most regional track (passenger and freight), with responsibilities for track, signalling and level crossings, with access to passenger sections of track granted to V/Line Passenger.
V/Line operates under a franchise agreement entered into with the Director of Public Transport. The Director also sub leases tracks and other infrastructure which the Director holds under lease from VicTrack, the agency which owns Victoria's rail-related land and infrastructure.
As a corporation 
National Express took control of V/Line Passenger from 29 August 1999. It included all country rail operations in Victoria, with the exception of the West Coast Railway operated Warrnambool line and the Hoys Roadlines operated Shepparton line, previously franchised in 1993. 2004 saw operation difficulties hit the two privately operated lines, and they came back under the control of V/Line.
On 22 December 2002 National Express withdrew from their operations in Victoria with the Victorian Government taking control temporarily. Full control was taken on 1 October 2003 by changing the shareholding of V/Line, making the government the sole shareholder via a recently created statutory corporation, V/Line Passenger Corporation.
In 2000 the Regional Fast Rail project was launched to upgrade the tracks linking Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong and the Latrobe Valley to Melbourne. The project, which also included new rolling stock and an expanded timetable of rail services, commenced full operations from December 2005.
November 2006 saw Pacific National enter into an agreement to sell the remainder of its Victorian rail lease of the network back to the Victorian Government for $133.8 m, during the caretaker period following the issuing of the writs for the 25 November 2006 Victorian State election. The sale was completed on 7 May 2007, with V/Line becoming the track manager of the Victorian intrastate network.
In May 2008 it was announced that part of the V/Line fleet would be converted to standard gauge to operate an upgraded Albury-Wodonga line service. In December 2008 V/Line ended the sale of alcoholic beverages aboard long-distance trains, after almost a century of the practice.
In 2010, the subsidy per passenger trip dropped to A$18.68, down from A$19.42 in 2009.
Recent developments 
The Transport Integration Act renamed the V/Line Passenger Corporation as V/Line Corporation. The Act also gave V/Line a new statutory charter. As part of these changes, the corporation's responsibilities were explicitly expanded to cover both rail passenger and rail freight services. The Act received the Royal Assent on 2 March 2010 and came into operation on 1 July 2010.
V/Line operates rail services to the regional cities of Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong, Seymour and Traralgon as well as Ararat, Maryborough, Echuca, Swan Hill, Albury, Bairnsdale, Warrnambool and Shepparton. In addition, V/Line road coaches connect with many rail services at major stations to serve towns away from the main rail network.
Rail services are grouped into two classes - shorter distance Interurban and longer distance Intercity services. Interurban services operate more frequently than Intercity services, and Intercity services usually have first class accommodation provided as well as snack bar facilities.
- South West Region or Geelong Line which continues as the Warrnambool Line
- Western Region or Ballarat Line which continues as the Ararat Line and the Maryborough Line
- Northern Region or Bendigo Line which extends as the Swan Hill Line and the Echuca Lines.
- North East Region or Seymour Line which extends as the Shepparton Line and the Albury-Wodonga Lines
- Eastern Region or Traralgon Line which continues as the Bairnsdale Line
The services to Ararat and Bairnsdale were also withdrawn in 1993, but were restored in 2004. In December 2008 as part of the Victorian Transport Plan the state government announced that V/Line rail passenger services would be extended to Maryborough station at a cost of $50 million, commencing 25 July 2010.
V/Line service resumption to Leongatha and Cobram (previously withdrawn, however track remains intact) has been sought by communities along both of these lines. A recent report into the extentions into the Melboure Metropolitan System identified the population growth corridor from Cranbourne to Koo-Wee-Rup as a key planning priority.
V/line also runs numerous intrastate and interstate coach services that may run wholly as a coach service or operate as a coach connecting with a rail service.
Below is a list of interstate coach service that V/line operates:
- Canberra Link - Melbourne (Southern Cross) - Canberra via Albury this service runs as a train to Albury and then a coach to Canberra
- Capital Link - Melbourne (Southern Cross) - Canberra via Bairnsdale this service runs as a train to Bairnsdale and then a coach to Canberra
- Daylink - Melbourne (Southern Cross) - Adelaide via Bendigo this service runs as a train to Bendigo and then a coach to Adelaide
- Sapphire Coast Link - Melbourne (Southern Cross) - Batemans Bay via Bairnsdale this service runs as a train to Bairnsdale and then a coach to Batemans Bay
- Speedlink - Sydney - Adelaide via Albury. This service does not travel to Melbourne and runs as the Countrylink XPT train from Sydney to Albury and then a coach from Albury to Adelaide
- Murraylink - Mildura - Albury This service does not travel to Melbourne and operates entirely as a coach.
V/Line currently uses machine printed paper tickets, issued from staffed V/Line stations, selected Metro suburban premium stations, V/Line ticket agents, online or by phone. Passengers boarding services at unmanned stations or roadside coach stops can purchase tickets from the train conductor or coach driver.
Tickets have the origin and destination printed upon them, making them point to point, but the fare itself is based on charging zones. Recently changes have been made to the fare system, to integrate it with the suburban Metcard system in preparation for the introduction of the Myki smartcard system to cover the entire state.
Ticket types available include single, return, and a range of periodical tickets. Services are classified as peak and off-peak, with discounts available for tickets valid in off-peak times only. V/Line operates a limited number of trains with first class seating. First class travel requires the payment of an upgrade fee on top of the standard economy fare.
Most V/Line services operate on a non-allocated seating basis, but all intercity (long distance) rail services and some coach services require seat reservations.
V/Line currently operates a mix of diesel multiple unit (DMUs) and locomotive-hauled trains. Most are on broad gauge, however two N-class locomotives have been converted to standard gauge in preparation as part of the gauge conversion of the Albury line. The carriage fleet is currently undergoing a refurbishment program, with the Sprinter fleet recently completing their own refurbishment program.
Diesel multiple units:
- 51 - 3 and 2 car VLocity DMUs, built by Bombardier Transportation
- 21 - Sprinter diesel rail cars, which can run in multiple, built by Goninan
- 19 N type carriage sets, built in the early 80s and are locomotive-hauled. A number of sets have additional cars converted from Z cars in their consist. One set operates with a Z car and five S cars as its whole consist.
- 13 H type carriage sets, converted from Harris suburban EMUs and are locomotive-hauled. These are currently undergoing a refurbishment program.
- Road coaches are supplied by private bus companies, who are contracted by the Department of Transport to operate services for V/Line. These buses often appear in the V/Line exterior livery.
When initially formed, V/Line used the fleet of the Victorian Railways, including a wide variety of diesel and electric locomotives, passenger carriages, railmotors and rail cars, guards vans, and freight vehicles. A division was made between V/Line Freight and V/Line Passenger operations in 1995, with it formalised by July 1997, the locomotive fleet was divided between the two new entities along with the relevant rolling stock. Only the VLocity units have been acquired since this time.
Network access 
V/Line also manages and maintains all non-interstate rural rail track in Victoria, including lines that do not see passenger services. The lease was previously held by Pacific National, who entered into an agreement to sell it back to the Victorian Government for $133.8 million in November 2006, with the sale completed in May 2007 with V/Line appointed to manage it.
Visual identity 
The initial V/Line visual identity was unveiled in August 1983, with an orange and grey livery to locomotives and passenger rolling stock, along with a white and green V/Line logo with a "stylised capital lettered logo with the V and the L split by a deep slashing stroke". Work on the initial V/Line identity started in May 1983, with freight wagons being released without logos pending the launch. Before that time, a stylised 'VR' was on the side of freight wagons, and locomotives and passenger carriage stock had been receiving the orange and silver VicRail 'teacup' since 1981. Carriages in the 'teacup' livery later had the logos removed and replaced by V/Line ones.
This remained until 1993 when the Sprinter trains were delivered in the teal and yellow suburban 'The Met' brand colours, but with both The Met and V/Line logos. In 1995, the freight and passenger rail divisions of V/Line were divided, with locomotives in the freight fleet retaining the orange and grey livery with 'V/Line Freight' logos, while passenger carriages and locomotive received the red blue and white 'V/Line Passenger' livery which remains on some of the fleet today. It was also at that time that the V/Line logo was altered, with serifs added to the lettering, and the "deep slashing stroke" was altered to a curved blue line. After National Express Group took over V/Line, the logo was again altered in 2000, with mixed-case lettering and a curving blue line underneath. In 2006, it was again altered, with the removal of the blue line underneath and addition of a purple line.
The VLocity railcars delivered from 2005 appeared in a totally new image, in stainless steel with purple and green highlights. In 2007, a total alteration of locomotive hauled rolling stock livery was unveiled, consisting of a grey carbody with red, white and purple stripes. Rolling stock in different variants of the livery was released throughout that year, with a consistent version not appearing until 2008, along with a number of repainted locomotives.
See also 
- Transport in Australia
- Rail transport in Victoria
- Transport Integration Act
- Department of Transport
- Rail Safety Act
- Director of Public Transport
- Director, Transport Safety
- Chief Investigator, Transport Safety
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- "Public Record Office Victoria online catalogue". access.prov.vic.gov.au. Retrieved 2008-03-16.
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- "News". Newsrail (Australian Railway Historical Society (Victorian Division)). November 2005.
- Peter Attenborough (June 2004). "Freight Australia". Australian Model Railway Magazine: pages 24–27.
- Peter Attenborough (June 2006). "V/Line Passenger". Australian Model Railway Magazine: pages 26–29.
- Richard Web (14 March 2004). "The long goodbye". The Age. Retrieved 2008-02-17.
- "V/Line - First Day of VLocity Revenue Operation (Ballarat)". Retrieved 2007-07-26.
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- "New Transport Framework For Victoria". Mondaq Business Briefing. www.thefreelibrary.com. 30 March 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-04.
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- Chris Banger (March 1997). "Rail Passenger Service Withdrawals Since 1960". Newsrail (Australian Railway Historical Society (Victorian Division)): pages 77–82.
- Liz Gooch (10 July 2004). "Ararat sleepers awake to new sound - the train". The Age. www.theage.com.au. Retrieved 2010-09-04.
- "Maryborough Rail Extension Projects". Victorian Transport Plan. www4.transport.vic.gov.au. Retrieved 2008-12-08.
- "Maryborough Rail Services". Victorian Transport Plan. www.transport.vic.gov.au. Retrieved 2010-07-05.
- Victorian Fares and Ticketing Manual 2008: Chapter 3 - V/Line travel
- "V/Line - V/Line & Metlink ticket integration". www.vline.com.au. Retrieved 2008-03-27.
- "V/Line - Fares - Ticket Types & Conditions". www.vline.com.au. Retrieved 2008-03-27.
- "V/Line ~ First Class". www.vline.com.au. Retrieved 2008-03-27.
- "V/Line - Reservations". www.vline.com.au. Retrieved 2008-03-27.
- "V/Line - Our Fleet". www.vline.com.au. Retrieved 2008-03-27.
- "Introduction to RNA". V/Line ~ Network Access. www.vline.com.au. Retrieved 2008-10-14.
- "RAIL BUY BACK DEAL COMPLETE". MINISTER FOR PUBLIC TRANSPORT (Media Release). 7 May 2007. Retrieved 2008-02-05.
- Norm Bray and Peter J Vincent (2006). Bogie Freight Wagons of Victoria. Brief History Books. p. 14. ISBN 0-9775056-0-X.
- "V/LineCars.com - Carriage Liveries". vlinecars.com. Retrieved 2008-10-16. [dead link]
- "V/LineCars.com News - 22nd August 2006 - New V/Line Logo". www.vlinecars.com. Archived from the original on 2008-07-25. Retrieved 2008-10-16.
- "V/LineCars.com - Carriage and Sprinter Refurbishment Program & New V/Line Livery - Ministerial & Media Launch". www.vlinecars.com. Archived from the original on 2008-07-20. Retrieved 2008-10-16.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: V/Line|
- V/LineCars.com - Comprehensive V/Line Carriages Information & Enthusiast website
- Vicsig.net - Victorian passenger rolling stock
|Country rail in Victoria
1983 - present